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Govt identifies broadband and mobile networks as key growth pillars

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NEW DELHI: The government has identified broadband and mobile networks as the key growth pillars to achieve its targets under the digital India programmme.

It identified two areas of growth: broadband and mobile in untapped areas where the Telecom Ministry wants to spend more funds. It started allocating more finance for the initiative and the government is trying to achieve its targets in advance.

The government has enhanced expenditure on broadband network to connect all 2,50,000 village panchayats to Rs 32,000 crore against Rs 20,000 crore approved by the previous government, according to a PTI report.

The BJP government is also trying to advance deadline to finish roll out of national optical fibre network (NOFN) to December 2016 from the earlier announced date of March 2017.

Recently, TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar criticised the delay in executing NOFN project, saying private sector companies should be part of such large projects.

The Indian government has earmarked Rs 16,000 crore to provide mobile connectivity to approximately 42,300 villages that still don’t have any network coverage. The deadline to offer mobile connectivity in these unconnected villages is 2018.

The BJP government has decided to create national information infrastructure at a cost of Rs 15,686 crore. The project will include integration of existing programmes like the National Knowledge Network (NKN) and NOFN.

Under the National Rural Internet Mission, government has earmarked fund of Rs 4750 crore to roll out common service centres (CSCs) across 2.5 lakh villages.

Through CSCs, people in rural area get access to government services like birth certificate, train tickets, pay various fees etc without actually having to visit the concerned office. The CSCs are present at about 1.3 lakh locations.

Besides this, the union government has earmarked Rs 200 crore to train one crore students in small towns and villages for IT sector jobs over period of next five years.

UPA government had started NKN to connect 1,500 universities with high speed broadband network.

The NDA government has decided to provide wi-fi at all universities in the country with an estimated cost of Rs 790 crore by the end of next year.

Under digital India programme, government has decided to spend Rs 98 crore on secure email, which will now be the primary mode of communications, for official communications.

At present 10 lakh government employees have been moved to secure email communication and by March 2015 around 50 lakh employees will be moved on to the new system.

The union cabinet on Wednesday approved the digital India programme that deals with all projects involving IT and communication technology like e-governance and broadband connectivity. The initial cost of the project, to be implemented over the next five years, is estimated at Rs 1,13,000 crore.

The Digital India programme has various other provisions which include wi-fi hotspots at public places, e-books for schools, national portal for lost and found children, biometric attendance at government offices for which funds are yet to be finalised.

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